Chaos and Life are not too dissimilar, both start with patterns and randomness at heart, and end with a rhythm to be found by ourselves. The whole theory is about order within what seems disorder, and so is life, it is hard to see life any other way but a manifestation of the Chaos theory in complete and full form.
First to get to this comparison or rather similarity we need to understand what basically is Chaos.
The dictionary meaning of the term goes like this,
noun [mass noun]
complete disorder and confusion: snow caused chaos in the region.
- Physics the property of a complex system whose behaviour is so unpredictable as to appear random, owing to great sensitivity to small changes in conditions.
- the formless matter supposed to have existed before the creation of the universe.
- (Chaos) Greek Mythology the first created being, from which came the primeval deities Gaia, Tartarus, Erebus, and Nyx.
So we know that we have had this concept since ages, it is not new, as long as we have had civilisation we have had people wondering about the disorder in life, maybe in each of their own ways.
Within a complex system, and if you believe the physicists now, every system is a complex system with multitudes of forces and functions depending on infinitesimally small factors, there are cycles of chaos and harmony, and that the time period is fixed for these cycles, if not the intensity.
Also these periodic cycles of harmony and chaos have internal subsystems which have their own chaos and harmony. It all depends on the point of view, or in an experiment, how magnified a view you have. So like we were taught in chemistry, Solids are gasses too, same molecules but with lesser vibrations and lesser space between them.
So is life, in the larger picture of 60-70 years that we live on this earth on an average. Over a period of years there maybe harmony but within smaller intervals there maybe chaos. Within these cycles as well there maybe smaller intervals dispersed, which are of totally opposite nature. Again here too it all depends on the point of view, our own magnification of the time period, hourly, daily or yearly or maybe even a decade.
From far away, someone’e life may seen very smooth and perfect but on a closer look, when we are close enough to observe, we may see the chaos, and from an optimum distance, we can even etch out a pattern. Not equilibrium, because life as a complex system is not running to reach equilibrium, it is on the other hand, running to find it’s pattern, it’s rhythm so that chaos and harmony can act as the push and pull to move us forward in our experiences of life.
We see our life’s patterns in all phases, in our job’s challenges, our love relations, even when we are studying. It is everywhere. Chaos, then, is the de facto law of nature. Chaos on one hand and Order on the other. It is this oscillation which drives us, puts us into places, and takes us out of them.
Lets start at a very simple scenario, dreams and ambitions. On the way to achieve them, there are many factors which we had assumed would not change or some which we did not even take into consideration. Hence they keep affecting the outcome of our efforts. We change some parameters and try again. The smallest of events can cascade into a huge life changing outcome, and we may not even be able to see it’s correlation. Life is series of dependent and interdependent incidences. The outcome of one becomes the input for other. If one outcome is changed, it does not mean the other results are fixed, it may drastically change the whole life.
Hypothetically this all is a conjecture, but life too mostly is. Our past is only what we have a memory and reference in our mind, a recollection, which keeps altering depending on our own present. The future is again what we think it would be based on what we are now, just an imagination. Like a symphony, if not listened to in full, if only observed as playing of one instrument at a time, it is not beautiful music, rather just noise. Settle it into a rhythm and pattern and it becomes your music.
Chaos theory summarises details about current interactions within a system rather than its overall state. It deals with interactions within the interactions, going inside infinitely, until that one repetitive pattern or function is observed which uniformly resonates throughout the system, it’s rhythm. Similar to our breathing. Take the breathing system for example. On its own its a simple pumping mechanism but so is the heartbeat. At the base of it, they both are simple oscillations, without either we will not be alive.
Some of us who read philosophy and literature should know, or rather would know that some great writers knew about this even before science had fathomed the meaning of existence. They just expressed it in different forms and left it for the people to either read them from the surface or view them from a deeper level within ourselves.
For example take the layered and metaphorical writing of Ghalib. For each reader they hold a different meaning. Words written a century ago are still true in any situation you may want to fit them into. That is the beauty of Chaos. It is alive at all levels and any writing which talks of the truest form of life, is too, alive at many levels.
A good creation is boringly same and interestingly dissimilar at different levels, we have all, but to, find the correct angle to view the painting from.
For life is similar if not exactly same, we have to keep changing our perspective to get to that absolute truth of any situation. That is how we are supposed to live.
How to achieve that? Through practice, practicing our thinking to see patterns and learning from them. That is how we have reached till here, over so many millennials, starting from the hunter gatherers to the current version, reading this text, sitting at a desk, hunched over a tablet or mobile screen, commuting to work and tired and restless. Why? All because now we see the chaos, but not the rhythm within it.
Once we find, and be in sync with our own life’s patterns we are better attuned to receive everything in our life. That is the purpose of life, not to move away from the Chaos but to find the harmony within it. There is only understanding and making the learned choice and moving ahead in life, not away from chaos but into the next one, there are no solutions or problems, just experiences and our choices which lead to other experiences.
We keep moving from one level of chaos to another, just like electrons in a primitive version of an atom.
Eventually out of this chaos is found a very simple order, which has been given different names over the ages, nirvana, moksh, salvation, whatever works for the person selling this thought.
Zindagi kya hai? anasir mein zuhur-e-tartib,
Maut kya hai? inhi azza ka pareshan hona…
It literally translates to, life is order within the interactions between all elements of life, and death is chaos within these elements.